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NFT Of Nelson Mandela’s Original Arrest Warrant Up For Auction
A digital version of the original 1961 warrant of arrest for Nelson Mandela will go on auction, 61 years after it was first issued.
Himanshu S.
3:00 24th Mar, 2022

The document has been tokenised into a non-fungible token (NFT) by Momint – an African-based company that provides a social marketplace for NFTs. The document is being auctioned off as part of fund-raising efforts in aid of the Liliesleaf Farm Museum.

NFTs are built using the same kind of programming as cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin; however NFTs each have a digital signature that makes it impossible for them to be exchanged for another.

The museum, which recently received a R7 million bailout from Treasury after reports that the institution was cash-strapped, served as the secret headquarters of the ANC, SACP, uMkhonto we Sizwe and the Congress Alliance from 1961 to 1963, and is considered one of South Africa’s foremost national heritage sites.

Suspended museum CEO Nicholas Wolpe said he bought the original in 2007 for R30 000. He said the museum retained the original in its archives and that it would remain there.

Momint spokesperson Kabelo Kgobisa said: “The warrant for treason is an exceptionally valuable NFT, and is the one of the first heritage NFTs to have been created in South Africa.”

He said the original document was handwritten on paper and is vulnerable to natural deterioration, but as an NFT, it will be preserved in perpetuity.

“This auction is a follow-up to Africa’s largest NFT auction held last year, which saw Oliver Tambo’s spy pen gun, another unique historical artefact, sold for
R50 000.”

Saturday evening’s auction will be hosted at the Grand Africa Café and Beach in Granger Bay as well as online, and will take place alongside an immersive festival featuring top local and international DJs, art auctions and installations, light shows and holographic scenes.

Meanwhile, Ex-Political Prisoners Association secretary Mpho Masemola has urged the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra), to work with the association to protect the heritage and legacy of former political prisoners.

“Our heritage and legacy projects under Sahra’s jurisdiction must be protected against poachers who are hell-bent to benefit from our sweat and suffering for self aggrandisement,” Masemola said.


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